Psychosocial Factors and Sport Injuries

Several studies have suggested that psychosocial variables can increase the risk of becoming injured during sport participation.


The main objectives of these meta-analyses were to examine (i) the effect sizes of relationships between the psychosocial variables (suggested as injury predictors in the model of stress and athletic injury) and injury rates, and (ii) the effects of psychological interventions aimed at reducing injury occurrence (prevention).


Electronic databases as well as specific sport and exercise psychology journals were searched. The literature review resulted in 48 published studies containing 161 effect sizes for injury prediction and seven effect sizes for injury prevention.


The results showed that stress responses (r = 0.27, 80 % CI [0.20, 0.33]) and history of stressors (r = 0.13, 80 % CI [0.11, 0.15]) had the strongest associations with injury rates. Also, the results from the path analysis showed that the stress response mediated the relationship between history of stressors and injury rates. For injury prevention studies, all studies included (N = 7) showed decreased injury rates in the treatment groups compared to control groups.


The results support the model’s suggestion that psychosocial variables, as well as psychologically, based interventions, can influence injury risk among athletes.


Sports Med. 2016 Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print] Psychosocial Factors and Sport Injuries: Meta-analyses for Prediction and Prevention. Ivarsson A1, Johnson U2, Andersen MB2, Tranaeus U3, Stenling A4, Lindwall M5,6. 1Center of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden. 2Center of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden. 3Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. 4Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. 5Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. 6Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.


‘It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us in trouble. It’s the things we know that ain’t so’
– Artemus Ward